Welcome to Brand To Watch, a new bi-weekly style column from COMPLEX UK. Here, we’ll be spotlighting the best emerging brands out of the UK, asking them what makes them stand out from the crowd, how they’ve navigated through unprecedented times and determining their vision of fashion and the future.

Created out of a need for true self-expression, Josh Scott launched Vented in 2018. Starting out with a range of embroidered tees for him and his friends to wear, the multidisciplinary label set off with the goal of “designing our universe”, gathering London creatives—such as p-rallel and Maxi Millz—to design exclusive streetwear products made for everyday use. 

Scott’s sell-out drops and experiences led to him becoming increasingly aware of a saturated streetwear market. Having built a dedicated online social community, the 23-year-old creative from West London began to explore the move from clothing to accessories, and he developed a moulding and casting process which would later form the brand’s first concrete design: a hand-casted skatepark-inspired art piece paying homage to London’s vibrant skate scene.

Despite the obvious implications of the pandemic, the last twelve months have seen Vented go from strength to strength. Vented’s recognisable pieces have already been noticed and picked up by a flurry of tastemakers and, later this month, the imprint will launch its exclusive range with Selfridges.

We caught up with Josh Scott from Vented to break down the brand’s early beginnings, West London influences, and his exciting collab with one of the UK’s leading department stores. 

How did the shift from apparel to accessories occur?

The shift from clothing to accessories came naturally as a result of my appreciation for collectors’ culture and my own admiration of furniture and product design. I sat down on New Year’s Day, 2019, and put all of my ideas onto paper, knowing that I wanted to make something more interesting than what I’d been making so far. Luckily, I kept all of those drawings and I love looking back on them. The silhouette of the Original [skatepark ashtray] is something that I originally envisaged as a table with a glass countertop. I also drew a chair, a watch, and even a bathroom sink. However, I sensibly decided that an ashtray and a jewellery bowl was the best place to start.

I also noticed at the time of producing the Original that the streetwear market was very saturated with start-ups, especially T-shirt brands. I identified that, to stand out, you have to make something different. However, to manufacture something interesting within the clothing industry, you need demand and you need a bigger budget than I had. So, I decided that if I was to be taken seriously, it would be best—at least initially—to take production into my own hands. I applied myself and created a product that I could design and manufacture from my own home. That’s how we got to where we are today at Vented.

How have you navigated through the last twelve months as a business?

The last twelve months have been very challenging but equally as exciting. The pandemic has, of course, been difficult to all of us—it resulted in me losing my full-time job, unfortunately. However, this last year has taught me a lot and definitely allowed me to become a more agile creative. I had just launched a pop-up in Soho, which was meant to last a month, and about 10 days in, London started to quieten down and the space closed.

The time I was given to focus on myself allowed me to press the refresh button on what I was doing and identify what I would like to improve about Vented. I utilised my newfound free time at first soaking up inspiration from films that I was watching to keep entertained, then I began experimenting with design and production, rebranding and considering art direction and the presentation of our products going forward. I feel like the last twelve months allowed me to form a more well-rounded vision of where I would like to take Vented.

You’re set to drop in exclusive range with Selfridges this month. How did that come about?

I’ve been working on pieces from the current collection over the last 18 months and have been continually developing iterations of the products. I gifted the Original to my friend and mentor, Ella Dror, and told her about my upcoming collection. This opened the door to me having conversations with companies like Selfridges and for this, I am very grateful.